Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Cost of Gold: A True Fairy Tale is a children’s coming of age tale written by Daniel Mault and illustrated by Jessie Miller. The narrator of this fable was sitting in a coffee shop with a pad, pencils, and pens laid by and ready for action, thinking about the next story he would find and write. His musings were interrupted when an older woman approached him. Hearing that he was searching for an idea for a new book, she offered to tell him a story about a boy, a girl and a tiny golden frog. He gladly acquiesced, and the woman sat down. With her hands cupping a warm teacup, she began.
Once, there was a girl and a boy who lived with their parents in a little cottage. They were very poor, but the family felt rich beyond compare, because they had each other. The two siblings had daily chores and responsibilities that kept them busy from sunup to sundown. Sometimes, the girl would gaze over the hills to where a fairy tale castle stood. She liked to wonder what it would be like to be a princess and live in a castle. She thought it would be grand to have time to play and sometimes sleep a little later in the morning. Then, she saw him -- the golden frog. The frog had the answer to everything she had been daydreaming about; he offered her a castle, riches, and servants to do all the work she and her brother had to do, but it all came with one catch.
Daniel Mault’s coming of age fable for children, The Cost of Gold: A True Fairy Tale, is an enchanting tale about a price too great to be paid, even for the riches of a kingdom and a life of leisure and enjoyment. Jessie Miller’s illustrations are marvelous, and they work brilliantly with this tale about two hard-working children who suddenly have the life they’ve dreamed of, yet find it wanting. The Cost of Gold has it all: a magical, talking frog, a fabulous golden castle and the solution to the harshness of poverty and hard work. Mault’s story is a perfect selection for story time, but do allow plenty of time for young listeners to enjoy the rich and lovely artwork that accompanies the text. It’s also a suitably challenging text for advanced young readers to try on their own. The Cost of Gold: A True Fairy Tale is most highly recommended.